Infertility is a very personal and hard struggle for anyone to go through. It’s mentally and physically draining when someone is trying to conceive a child and keeps hitting a brick wall time and time again. It can make them feel like a failure.
What’s even harder is when friends simply don’t understand what they’re going through, which can lead to some insensitive things being said.
What do you say when your friend confides in you that she and her husband have been trying for months without success?
Do you offer advice, ignore the situation, or change the subject?
This is your friend. You want to be as encouraging and supportive as possible but you don’t want to make it worse by saying the wrong thing.
HOW TO SHOW PERSONAL SUPPORT
Infertility is a sensitive subject. If your friend confides in you about their struggle that means they feel safe and trust you explicitly.
There’s a few things you can do.
- BE SUPPORTIVE
The best way to start showing your support is to listen and let them talk about their feelings and what they’re going through. Be an open door for them.
No judgment, no advice.
Just an ear to listen to and a shoulder to lean on. Because frankly, not everyone is looking for advice, just a safe space to let it all out. A therapy session so to speak.
- BE INFORMATIVE
Once the door is opened on the subject, you may want to do a little research if you’re not familiar with infertility and/or fertility treatments.
This can help to provide additional support just in case your friend chooses to share the process with you. You won’t get caught off guard with an “oh my gasp” or a “pity stare” making an already touchy situation worse. And you definitely don’t want to add fuel to the fire.
- WATCH THE CALENDAR
Holidays can bring a whole new added sadness. Especially, when you’re struggling to have a family and are watching other people celebrate with their children. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas can be devastating and create additional stress and anxiety. Each time these holidays come around it’s like reopening a wound for someone struggling with infertility.
Remember to be gentle with your friend and additional support. Maybe buy some flowers or a small gift as a gesture to let them know you’re thinking about them and are there for whatever it is they need.
- BE MINDFUL
Make sure to check in to see if she/he needs anything especially when going through fertility treatments. Offer some practical support. Meal prep, grocery pick up, transportation to appointments, etc.
If you’re not sure what is needed, simply ask. Keep an open mind when she/he gives you suggestions on what they may need help with.
Infertility is a heartbreaking journey that many women and men endure. It can be hard to know what to say or do. You might not have the right words at the right time, and that’s okay. Just being there for them on this difficult road can bring a sense of solace and renewed strength and courage to face what lies ahead.